Crisis Text Line & More Resources For World Suicide Prevention Day
Each day, we come face-to-face with friends and strangers struggling to keep their heads above the relentless, overpowering waves of mental illness—and we may not even know it. Maybe crippling anxiety kept the captain of your daughter’s lacrosse team awake all last night. Maybe the kid who used to joke around with your son on the bus was recently diagnosed with depression. Maybe your teen is among those suffering.
Some of these individuals are able to stay afloat thanks to support from friends, family members, teachers, coaches—lifesavers. Others are not so fortunate. According to the World Health Organization, more than 800,000 people lose their lives to suicide every year; that’s one death every 40 seconds.
Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, we honor those lost and those fighting to help.
Leading suicide prevention efforts on the adolescent front is a new and powerful service designed with teenagers’ communication preferences in mind. The Crisis Text Line—a free, anonymous, around-the-clock crisis intervention hotline that connects teens in need with trained counselors—is available at teens’ fingertips when they text the number 741741. (Click here to read about how it works.) Since the line’s birth two years ago, over 8 million messages have been exchanged, and 35 percent of the text conversations have mentioned depression and suicide.
According to a recent New York Times article, University of Rochester's suicide prevention researcher Anthony Pisani credits Crisis Text Line with freeing teens of shame and dependency, which he believes are the leading factors that have previously kept the number of teens using telephone crisis hotlines under 2 percent. He explains:
“It offers a layer of protection from the shame of expressing your vulnerabilities. And it lowers the barrier of entry for the proud and self reliant because it’s so easy to experiment with a conversation.”
The Crisis Text Line isn't the only resource available for those struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression. We recommend the following organizations that strive to raise awareness and provide support:
• iFred: The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression shines a positive light on depression and aims to eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research, and education
• To Write Love on Her Arms: TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.
• The Society of Prevention for Teen Suicide: Their mission is to reduce the number of youth suicides and attempted suicides by encouraging public awareness through the development and promotion of educational training programs.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline [1-800-273-TALK (8255)], staffed by real people and available 24/7.